The ‘Un-Australian of the year’ is a sculpture that imagines an award that could run at the same time as the offical ‘Australian of the Year’ awards.
I made it because I find the link between behaviour and nationalism interesting.
As Australians, we are all ‘good’ in our own minds and to deviate outside of this imaginary majority ground, makes you non-Australian. Or ‘Un-Australian’.
I’ve asked many people, from all walks of life, if they could recall a ‘Australian of the Year’. Most couldn’t.
Australians don’t seem to care that much about success. We are more motivated more by ‘not the the worst’ Australian.
And it it’s not just crimes against the Australian code. When you start to rise above the majority, the tall poppy syndrome kicks into overdrive and you are cast aside by the pack, who sit patiently waiting for the fall.
You see it in the Australian art scene all the time.
As soon as an artist starts gaining success, perhaps interest outside of the art world, their once friends and stanch supporters, become haters and detractors. Their success has an inbuilt, and very real exclusion from the pack.
If the current Australian of the year award is about inspiring people to rise to the top, but currently we don’t pay attention who these people are, perhaps an anti-award that reinforces what the bottom is, is a better cultural fit for us, at this point in time.
That’s what this sculpture is all about, and I have a feeling that if it was a real award ceremony, the majority would want to know who the recipient of the Un-Australian of the year was.
The work gained instant meme status after image of my award was shared on Brown Cardigan with the caption ‘tag a dog cunt’. Over 20k likes and over 3k comments.
This piece was created for the BSIDE Gallery 3rd birthday group show on the 19th of May 2019.